English Words without consonants

November 11, 2019

English has very few words of more than one syllable without a consonant, apart from proper names such as Aeaea, Aiea, Aia, Io, Eiao, Oea, and sometimes Iowa (below), and perhaps a few taxonomic terms such as Iouea below.

  • The maned sloth, or ai, is pronounced with two syllables: /ˈɑːi/.
  • Aa, a type of lava, is spelled without consonants, but is pronounced with a glottal stop, which is marginal in English: /ˈɑːʔɑː/.
  • The aye-aye, a type of lemur: /ˈ/
  • Euouae, a musical cadence taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculoruAmen”, is the longest English word spelled without any consonant letters; it is also the English word with the most consecutive vowels. However, it is also pronounced with an initial consonant: /jˈi/Euoi, an interjection expressing Bacchic frenzy, is similar.
  • Iouea, /jˈə/, or without consonant pronunciation, /ˈə/.